Joel Siegel's the Morning After

This from the movie maven's indispensable daily e-mail digest of TV and movie news, Studio Briefing: "Sony, Disney in Six-Day War."

Sony, which boasted early in the month that "Spider-Man 3" set a slew of box-office records, angrily lashed out at the Walt Disney Co. Tuesday over its claim that "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End " has the distinction of having "the biggest [global] opening in movie history" over its first six days in release. A Sony spokesman complained that "Pirates" actually opened in Italy and France on Tuesday, adding a seventh day to its gross.

"We had previews that generated $1.4 million," Disney responded. "And in keeping with industry practice, we rolled it into the opening day."

Sony said that if it included its own seventh day for "Spider-Man 3," it would hold the worldwide box-office crown.

The numbers: $401 million at the worldwide box office for "Pirates 3." $382 million for "Spidey 3."

It gets very complicated adding preview days (before the official opening date) for "Pirates" in Italy and France and in the U.S. which raises its domestic total. "Spidey" still holds the Memorial Day record.

Does any of that make any difference? No!

"Pirates 3" is doing much better overseas than it is in the U.S. and Canada. My theory that there is an inverse ratio between the number of people in the audience who speak English and the box office success of a Hollywood blockbuster.

And if "Pirates" had run an appropriate two hours instead of a nearly three-hour running time that makes you feel shipwrecked, even Aunt May would have admitted Pirates No. Three was actually No. One.

Reuters, once the most respected news service in the world, filed a story headlined, "Early summer movies underperform at box office."

There have been stories of Reuters outsourcing its staffs to Asia. But even in Asia that's not true. "Spidey," "Shrek" and "Pirates 3" are gargantuan hits. Hugely expensive to make, they are all on track make big profits.

Reuters, the first news service, has been respected for, literally, centuries. Who knows -- maybe Napoleon really won at Waterloo, and maybe Lincoln really was late for the play.

Best Threequel Still to Come

Saw "Ocean's 13" last night. Loved it.

The word is, the guys were disappointed with "Ocean's 12," which I liked but because I just got a huge kick out of watching George and Brad (not to mention Julia and Bruce) have such a good time even though it was obvious the major reason any of them were there was to spend time at Clooney's villa on Lake Cuomo. Can't blame anybody for that.

This time they're back in Vegas and — the only gambling pun I'll use, promise -- JACKPOT!

"Spidey" and/or "Pirates" will still finish the summer No. 1 at the box office -- a question of audience and action films. But "Oceans 13" will finish the summer the best of the bunch.

Al Pacino is a terrific addition (so is Ellen Barkin in the kind of role that Oscar loves to give supporting actress nominations to.) And there's a last line from Clooney to Pitt that's one of movie's great lines ever. Sorry, no spoiler here.

This Friday?

"Knocked Up" was buzzed as the summer comedy blockbuster. The buzz was right. Very funny, very touching as well, Seth Rogan's going to have a great Father's Day.

The director told me (you can catch the interview here) he was a cruel dad because he starred his own two daughters in a movie they'll never be able to see.

"It's rated R," I said. "They'll be 17 one day."

"They'll have to be 25 to see this," he told me. "It's raunchy!"

And funny. With an underlying sweetness and decency that had me laughing and crying at the same time.

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